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Mosquito-Borne Viruses Confirmed in North Adams, Pittsfield
Staff Reports, iBerkshires
08:04PM / Friday, August 17, 2012
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Editor's Note: Adulticide spray applications schedule updated on Aug. 20 at 11 a.m. For more information, contact the mosquito-control program at 413-447-9808.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The state Department of Public Health has confirmed samples of West Nile virus in the county's two cities.

Two positive mosquito samples were identified in North Adams on Aug. 10 and two more this week in Pittsfield. Samples of Eastern Equine Encephalitis were confirmed in Pittsfield in late July and West Nile earlier.

North Adams officials say they are working with DPH. Pittsfield, a member of the Berkshire County Mosquito Control Project, will continue with adulticide spray applications in and around where the samples for West Nile and EEE were found.

"This evidence confirms that significant levels of virus are present in the environment and it is important to do everything possible to avoid mosquito bites," said BCMCP Superintendent Christopher Horton. "You can help reduce mosquito population around your home and neighborhood by emptying any containers that may have collected water."

The state gives most of Berkshire County, in fact much of Western Massachusetts, a "remote" risk level for both mosquito-borne viruses. Pittsfield, Stockbridge and Sheffield are rated as "low" risk level.

West Nile can cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, rashes, fevers; severe cases can include coma, tremors, convulsions and other neurological issues. More than 80 percent of those infected show no symptoms and about 1 in 150 may suffer severe cases. EEE causes similar symptoms is fatal in about 30 percent of cases. 

Those 50 or older or 15 and younger are most susceptible. For more information, check the Centers for Disease Control.

The best way to avoid contracting the viruses to avoid or eliminate mosquitos. Basic tips include:

• Take precautions, especially, during the peak biting times of dusk and dawn by wearing long-sleeves, pants and socks when outdoors; apply repellent.

• Drain or get rid of items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools, and change water in birdbaths frequently. Use larvicide where appropriate.

• Make sure screens are tight fitting on doors and windows.

Pittsfield will continue its adulticide spray applications on the following days between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.:

Wednesday, Aug. 22: Areas south of West Street and west of South Street. Two-mile radius from West Housatonic Street at Callahan Drive.

Thursday, Aug. 23: Areas south of East Street and east of South Street. Two-mile radius from Elm Street at Williams Street.                       

Friday, Aug. 24: Areas north of East Street and east of North Street. One-mile radius from North Street at Crane Avenue and from Coltsville Corners.

Saturday, Aug. 25: Areas north of West Street and west of North Street. One-mile radius from West Street at Forthill Avenue.

There will also be spraying in Sheffield on Thursday, Aug. 23; Stockbridge and Tyringham on Friday, Aug. 24; Hinsdale on Monday, Aug. 27; Otis on Tuesday, Aug. 28.
 
If you are in the areas being sprayed, close windows and doors, turn off fans and air conditioners, stay inside during application period, rinse any outside produce with water afterward, and remove any hanging laundry. 
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